PASCAGOULA – The USS Mississippi, a sophisticated attack Navy submarine, is going into active service.
The 377-foot Virginia-class submarine arrived last month in Pascagoula and was commissioned Saturday. A commissioning places a ship into active service.
The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/LSAv9W) that the USS Mississippi, which cost $2 billion to build, was delivered a year ahead of schedule and under budget.
This is the fifth Navy ship or boat to carry the Mississippi name. It is expected to remain in the fleet for about three decades.
The submarine was christened at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., on Dec. 3, and has been through sea trials. The submarine will be assigned to Submarine Group Two.
With a crew of about 130 officer and sailors, the submarine carries torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles, and can be configured to carry Navy SEALs.
Electric Boat and its major subcontractor, Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News, have received contracts to build the first 18 submarines of a planned 30-ship Virginia Class.
“That is a very emotional part of the event,” said Lauren Pitre, a 1995 graduate of West Point High School who serves as the Virginia class program office acquisition manager. “You then see the crew run on board. It definitely gives you chills.”
Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, a 1980 graduate of Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., is manager of the Virginia fleet and he said having the commissioning happen in Mississippi was special to him.